Mandarin and English single word processing studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging.
The cortical organization of language in bilinguals remains disputed. We studied 24 right-handed fluent bilinguals: 15 exposed to both Mandarin and English before the age of 6 years; and nine exposed to Mandarin in early childhood but English only after the age of 12 years. Blood oxygen level-dependent contrast functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed while subjects performed cued word generation in each language. Fixation was the control task. In both languages, activations were present in the prefrontal, temporal, and parietal regions, and the supplementary motor area. Activations in the prefrontal region were compared by (1) locating peak activations and (2) counting the number of voxels that exceeded a statistical threshold. Although there were differences in the magnitude of activation between the pair of languages, no subject showed significant differences in peak-location or hemispheric asymmetry of activations in the prefrontal language areas. Early and late bilinguals showed a similar pattern of overlapping activations. There are no significant differences in the cortical areas activated for both Mandarin and English at the single word level, irrespective of age of acquisition of either language. (+info)
Unidirectional dyslexia in a polyglot.
Alexia is usually seen after ischaemic insults to the dominant parietal lobe. A patient is described with a particular alexia to reading Hebrew (right to left), whereas no alexia was noted when reading in English. This deficit evolved after a hypertensive right occipitoparietal intracerebral haemorrhage, and resolved gradually over the ensuing year as the haematoma was resorbed. The deficit suggests the existence of a separate, language associated, neuronal network within the right hemisphere important to different language reading modes. (+info)
Questionnaire survey of interpreter use in accident and emergency departments in the UK.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the support for a national telephone interpreter service from accident and emergency (A&E) departments across the UK, and the factors that may influence that support. To determine the nature of interpreter needs for these departments. METHODS: Postal questionnaire survey of 255 A&E departments in the UK. RESULTS: A total of 197 replies were received, a response rate of 77.3%. Altogether 186 respondents answered the question on support for a national telephone interpreter service and 124 (66.7%) would support one. Those departments in favour were no more likely to have required an interpreter in the last seven days (chi 2 = 0.16, df = 1, p = 0.69), be in the inner city (Fisher's exact test, two sided probability, p = 1), have predominantly local population needs compared with tourist needs (chi 2 = 0.65, df = 1, p = 0.42), or be current users of a telephone interpreter service (chi 2 = 0.01, df = 1, p = 0.93). Seventy-nine of 180 (42.9%) departments had used some form of interpreter in the seven days preceding completion of the survey. Seventy-six of 86 (88.4%) of those departments using face to face interpreters had experienced difficulty obtaining an interpreter out of hours. Nationally, the following proportion of all A&E departments listed the named language as occurring among the three most common languages requiring interpretation: French 0.46 (95% confidence interval 0.42 to 0.50), Urdu 0.30 (0.26 to 0.34), and German 0.24 (0.21 to 0.27). CONCLUSIONS: There is widespread need and support for a national telephone interpreter service that would match the requirements of 24 hour emergency health care provision. (+info)
Language barriers and bibliographic retrieval effectiveness: use of MEDLINE by French-speaking end users.
OBJECTIVE: A study was conducted to determine if bibliographic retrieval performed by French-speaking end users is impaired by English language interfaces. The American database MEDLINE on CD-ROM was used as a model. METHODS: A survey of self-administered questionnaires was performed at two libraries of Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2 University, during a two-month period in 1997. Three study groups were constituted: MEDLINE / Ovid end users, MEDLINE / Ovid librarian-mediated users, and Pascal, a French bibliographic database, end users. RESULTS: Among 191 respondents, only 22% thought English was an obstacle to their bibliographic retrieval. However, the research software was generally underused and the quality of the retrieval weak. The differences were statistically significant between users trained by librarians and the self-trained group, the former performing better. CONCLUSION: Special efforts need to be made to develop curriculum training programs for computerized bibliographic retrieval in medical schools, regardless of the native language of the student. (+info)
Model-based semantic dictionaries for medical language understanding.
Semantic dictionaries are emerging as a major cornerstone towards achieving sound natural language understanding. Indeed, they constitute the main bridge between words and conceptual entities that reflect their meanings. Nowadays, more and more wide-coverage lexical dictionaries are electronically available in the public domain. However, associating a semantic content with lexical entries is not a straightforward task as it is subordinate to the existence of a fine-grained concept model of the treated domain. This paper presents the benefits and pitfalls in building and maintaining multilingual dictionaries, the semantics of which is directly established on an existing concept model. Concrete cases, handled through the GALEN-IN-USE project, illustrate the use of such semantic dictionaries for the analysis and generation of multilingual surgical procedures. (+info)
MedSpanish: a language tool for the emergency department.
Language barriers frequently impede the ability of the health care professional to provide the highest quality health care to his or her patients. Spanish speaking people are rapidly becoming the largest minority population in the United States. In order to facilitate access to appropriate medical care that would not be inhibited by miscommunication or lack of a trained translator, the MedSpanish Web Site was developed for use in the Emergency Department. The site contains common Spanish vocabularies, including translations and audio clips, that would be used in such a setting. The various sections are formatted so that they could easily become pocket cards rather than relying on the availability of a computer in a medical emergency. While MedSpanish is not designed to replace a trained translator, it does offer an effective alternative if such translations services are not available. (+info)
A functional imaging study of translation and language switching.
The neural systems underlying translation and language switching were investigated using PET. Proficient German-English adult bilinguals were scanned whilst either translating or reading visually presented words in German (L1), English (L2) or alternating L1/L2. We refer to alternating L1/L2 as 'switching'. The results revealed contrasting patterns of activation for translation and switching, suggesting at least partially independent mechanisms. Translation, but not switching, increased activity in the anterior cingulate and subcortical structures whilst decreasing activation in several other temporal and parietal language areas associated with the meaning of words. Translation also increased activation in regions associated with articulation (the anterior insula, cerebellum and supplementary motor area) arguably because the reading response to the stimulus must be inhibited whilst a response in a different language is activated. In contrast, switching the input language resulted in activation of Broca's area and the supramarginal gyri, areas associated with phonological recoding. The results are discussed in terms of the cognitive control of language processes. (+info)
Pathological switching between languages after frontal lesions in a bilingual patient.
Cerebral lesions may alter the capability of bilingual subjects to separate their languages and use each language in appropriate contexts. Patients who show pathological mixing intermingle different languages within a single utterance. By contrast, patients affected by pathological switching alternate their languages across different utterances (a self contained segment of speech that stands on its own and conveys its own independent meaning). Cases of pathological mixing have been reported after lesions to the left temporoparietal lobe. By contrast, information on the neural loci involved in pathological switching is scarce. In this paper a description is given for the first time of a patient with a lesion to the left anterior cingulate and to the frontal lobe-also marginally involving the right anterior cingulate area-who presented with pathological switching between languages in the absence of any other linguistic impairment. Thus, unlike pathological mixing that typically occurs in bilingual aphasia, pathological switching may be independent of language mechanisms. (+info)